We all have heard the good old saying, “An apple a day keeps the doctor away.”
Going by this phase, apples were the first to be labeled as ‘superfoods’ before the term even became popular. But is it still considered a superfood?
It seems, every time we turn around, a new superfood trend is on the internet, claiming to be filled with essential nutrients and promising to deliver the utmost health benefits. Let’s take a step back here to understand what superfoods are, anyway. Why was such a term coined and given as an honorary badge of high nutrients to only a handful of food items? And does this mean that we should only have these high-nutrient superfoods and opt-out from eating other food items? (What about weekend pizzas? 😢)
What are Superfoods?
We all live in upgrades. We want our Wi-Fi to be lightning fast, our phones to be smart - and our food to be super. Search for the word ‘superfood’ and the internet will throw an array of recently added nuts, berries, vegetables, grains, and seeds under this umbrella term. The selling point of these superfoods has, however, got nothing to do with their taste and appearance, but with their rich nutrients that can do good to our health. And mind you, their qualities are not mere add-ons, like your morning bowl of cereal fortified with vitamins. Instead, they add a good deal of health-giving benefits.
What are these superfoods? In simple words, superfoods are claimed to be nutritionally dense foods that mostly include plant-based foods, some fish and dairy. However, there are no set criteria that determine which is and which is not a superfood according to the American Heart Association. In fact, the term can be super confusing, leading people to think that these superfoods have incredible nutritional and other properties that can take care of all our health problems. Nopes!
The origin of the term superfood appeared early in the 20th century as a strategy to market bananas. Yes! Developed by The United Fruit Company, USA, the company used the term to promote the practicality of bananas - its nutritional value, ease of digestion, and natural packaging. And as the fruit’s popularity spread, so did its monikers.
Also Read: What the Heck is Organic?
Superfoods as Medicines
In today’s fast-paced world, popping a vitamin pill or supplement is the easiest option. But research shows that instead, consuming nutrients in their natural form has the maximum benefits. Superfoods are powerhouses of the food chain, packed with nutrients that are good for our entire body. But they are not magical! It is almost impossible to ‘fix’ an unhealthy lifestyle by only one or two servings of superfoods in a week. You can’t eat junk throughout the week and grab an apple or berries once in a while, hoping to keep your heart and lungs healthy. Can you?
Top Trending Superfoods
Salmon and other cold-water fish - salmon, mackerel, tuna, and other fatty fish are loaded with Omega-3 fatty acid, which is good for the heart. However, the benefits of including fish as part of your meal may far outweigh the risk of harming your health with a high amount of mercury. Fish such as king mackerel, shark, swordfish, and other fish high on the food chain contain high amounts of mercury in them.
Seeds and nuts contain high levels of healthy fats and minerals. Although they are a common addition to your diet, the downside is that they are high on calories. A handful of cashew or almond could easily contain over 100 calories. But don’t shy away and toss a measured handful of nuts into your salad bowl to get nutrients from nuts and seeds.
Grains - who could have thoughts of ancient grains like flax seeds, quinoa and buckwheat would one day enjoy becoming the synonym with ‘superfood’? Sprinkle flax seeds on your bowl of cereals to add a punch of fiber and plant-based omega-3.
Kale - whenever superfoods are mentioned, kale tops the list of good greens. One of the most easily available superfoods, kale is packed with vitamins A, C and K, as well as calcium, fiber, and other minerals. Include other Cruciferous veggies such as broccoli, cabbage and other green leafy vegetables like spinach in that list.
Fruits - No superfood list is complete without mentioning an “exotic fruit of the year”. This might be dragon fruit, dark grapes, pomegranate or even berries. Some of these fruits are dense in nutrients. For instance, pomegranate contains ellagitannins (ellagic acid) which have anti-cancer properties.
Superfood or Super hyped?
That’s still an ongoing debate. While certain food might provide a good dose of nutrients and have health benefits, moderation and variety are equally important to our dietary needs. Start small, probably with a handful of dried berries in your morning cereal or an apple to quest your hunger. There are so many varieties of superfoods available and Martie is here to help you choose the best at a deeply discounted rate. With Black Coco Chia, delicious berry bars, and savory salad dressings in stock, there’s a wide variety to choose from. And while you are at it, don’t forget to treat yourself to some chocolate bars.